Ep. 57 | How Artificial Intelligence Helps Sales Teams Become More Empathetic

This is a picture of David Satterwhite for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where he talk about how sales teams become more empathetic

Featured eBook: 10 Ways to Nurture the Buyer’s Journey

Act-On eBook: 10 Ways to Nurture the Buyer's Journey

Act-On’s David Satterwhite believes artificial intelligence tools will help sales teams become more empathetic.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for sales,” David said in his interview on the Rethink Marketing Podcast. “The idea is that artificial intelligence and everything we’re doing with it in our platform, in marketing, in sales, and all the tool approaches that we’re using, is to just get us in front of more people, so we can tell our stories, so we can solve more problems, so we can help them get more value out of what it is that we’re bringing to the marketplace.”

In this week’s Rethink Marketing podcast episode, Act-On CMO Michelle Huff interviewed David, Act-On’s Chief Revenue Officer, about how artificial intelligence will help sales teams become more empathetic in their sales interactions with customers and prospects.

How can sales reps and marketers better improve their empathy muscles?

David said this can be approached two ways. First, you can use tools to help, such as Gong’s conversational intelligence tool that uses AI to record and analyze sales calls, looking for many factors, such as talk/listen ratios.

“There’s a lot of things to do to try to help the team from a tool perspective,” David said, “To get better at it, understand how we’re doing on it, measure it, inspect it, teach it, lead it.”

But, he said, it has to begin with caring.

“We can talk all we want about listening, and empathy, and throw these things around. But it starts with do you care about someone else’s problem, do you care about their pains, are you generally interested in what it is they’re trying to solve,” he said. “And if there’s one thing I’d say to salespeople, it’s start with caring about the problem you’re trying to solve, and what that buyer is going through.”

Be an empathetic listener

David said one of the key commonalities he’s found in his many years in sales is that the successful sales people focused on the problem the prospect was addressing.

“They were a heat seeking missile on what is the pain point that company is having, so that they could then start talking about how they can solve it. I think the first step is to really care,” David said. “People can tell – everything comes down to people to people in the end. People want to know you’re generally interested. People want to know you’re generally listening. If you and I are having a conversation and all I’m doing is thinking in my head about the next thing I’m going to say, versus listening to you and what you’re saying, I’m not listening. I’m not understanding what it is you’re coming with. And that’s the case in sales. You have to be interested.

And that will spur you on, that will spawn thoughts and spur you on to look into and understand your customer, to understand the commonality amongst the problems and challenges they have. And with that, you start to be able to go to the next level, which is not only understanding, but to start having some solutions, start being able to talk about how they solve those things from a place of understanding.”



Read David’s article in Venture Beat on how human creativity plays a role in AI.

  1. Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at Act-On?
  2. We’re here today to talk about Artificial Intelligence and the opportunities it can create for companies, and specifically sales and marketing teams. To get started, what do you think about when I say artificial? 
  3. Where does Artificial Intelligence fall on that spectrum?
  4. Why do you think it  could be an opportunity for sales?
  5. Can you talk more about empathy? How does that play out in sales?
  6. How can sales reps or marketers better improve their empathy muscles?
  7. You recently wrote a LinkedIn article about the difference between good and great selling as finding the impact. Can you talk about that and how empathy can play a role in finding that impact?
  8. We’re talking about how empathy plays a positive role in the sales process. Do you think it has a role in the relationship between sales and marketing teams within a company? How so?